April 20, 2014

So Let’s Root, Root, Root For The Home Teeth

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 2:06 pm

Good morning and greetings, NBA playoff fans. Last week, I was searching high and low for a subject to entertain my cyber readers. Being in the holiday spirit, I was looking for something upbeat, like an Easter bunny winning the lottery and setting all his friends and family in cages free.

Well, after a trip to the dentist office last Thursday, I had found my story. But it’s not all warm and fuzzy. I have to face it. For me, there’s no escaping the dental reaper.

But before I get into my newest dilemma, let me update you on my brother Brad. He had total knee reconstruction surgery last Tuesday and it went very well, or at least as well as it could go when severe pain is involved. He emailed in the middle of the night last Thursday morning, in the midst of the most continuous pain he had experienced in all his 55 years as a New York Giants fan.

At that point he had enough drugs in his system to open a pharmacy, but it still wasn’t enough, as the pain was beyond excruciating.

But he is starting to come around slowly, although he’ll be off the grid for a while as he recovers. He’s already had surgery on this knee once before, so he knows all about how the physical therapy game is played.

But he’s experiencing pain at a level he’s never encountered before. It’s beyond brutal. I’m just hoping it’s gets tolerable real soon. I feel for him, as he’s like a brother to me and doesn’t deserve all the anguish and suffering.

They say fear and courage are brothers. If that’s the case, I don’t want to meet their sisters.

Now back to me. My teeth have always been a problem, a true achilles heel. I am quite familiar with the drill, fill and bill syndrome, as my childhood was filled with cavities. This led to a lifetime bonus of nightmares involving my teeth.

I know I didn’t have the greatest childhood dentist, as he never took any x-rays. He just held me up to the light. I remember him attempting to take out two of my wisdom teeth without putting me under. In retrospect, if I had had any wisdom, I would never have opened my mouth.

So last Thursday, I was greeting by a dental hygienist that I had never met. Not a good sign, as change is not good. She told me she only worked there two days a month. I replied, “This must be my lucky day.”

Having been blessed with soft teeth, the conglomeration of mercury in my mouth and the continuation through my 20′s and 30′s led me to becoming royalty, as I started getting crowns in my 40′s. Yeah, there’s nothing like biting down and cracking a tooth. Your tongue then automatically goes to the spot where the tooth once was and the party begins.

I now have approximately 65 gold crowns in my mouth while my dentist has a flourishing vineyard in Napa. Maybe that’s why I’m not crazy about the smell of my enamel burning.

Now back in 2001, I experienced rapid bone loss in my jaw and had to have a incisor tooth extracted. This led to a new game called ring around the implant. But I thought, well, that bone loss was just a fluke, and went on with with the rest of my so-called life.

But then in 2010, just to even the playing field, I cracked the upper incisor on the other side, which required another implant. I didn’t get it taken care of right away, as immediate attention wasn’t required and I wanted to savor the oral surgery experience.

Then in 2012, I was introduced to a new friend called root resorption. This little party trick involves my own living body cells attacking the root of my front teeth, leading to their destruction and subsequent extractions.

And here’s the bonus when it comes to root or tooth absorption. The greatest minds in science and medicine don’t know what causes the cells to unite and turn on me. It could have been my childhood orthodontic work (that’s what I’m guessing,) as my orthodontist left midway through my treatment and my case was taken over by some hack who took my braces off too soon.

Or there could have some trauma in the area, but a relatively large proportion of root resorption is of unknown cause, or “idiopathic,” leaving me feeling like the idiot.

So this led to getting two implants with some bone grafting for dessert. The upper implant was easy, but the lower one was very tricky. I remember waking up and hearing the words, “We couldn’t get the implant in.” Well, that led to more oral surgery fun, as the implant must grow in the jaw bone for six months before the crown is attached. And that forced me to wear plastic flippers to cover the empty spots in my mouth, as the only fashion work I was getting before that was modeling hockey jerseys.

But in early 2013, we finished up the work, and my mouth was as good as semi-new. I once again had a half a million dollar smile. But I was constantly haunted by the words of oral surgeon, who warned me that once you experience rapid root absorption, it’s not going away. It’s like I have Al Quaida plotting in my mouth.

And that bring us back to last Thursday. The x-rays showed that the cells have attacked my other bottom front tooth. My dentist said the tooth is “terminal.” Kaput.

I’ve gone through this before and know the drill. I may have a little bit of time, but I know the process that lies ahead. My dentist said my last implant was the most complicated procedure he’s seen in his 40 years. To quote the poet Ogden Nash, “Some tortures are physical. And some are mental. But the one that is both is dental.”

But I’m not complaining, as other people have it a lot worse. Like Brad. I’m just left wondering why.

But I’ll deal with it, however unpleasant as it may be. Because that’s the hand, er mouth, that I’ve been dealt.

But if I ever meet my orthodontist on the road, I will kill him.

So last week I showcased a beautiful sunrise from January 3, that lit up the morning sky with beauty and elegance. Today’s photos are the sunset from the same day. It was not nearly as spectacular as the morning colors, but it was about as much as I could absorb that night.
So just to show in light of the circumstances that I still have a sense of humor, here’s my favorite joke about dentists.

A couple of old guys were golfing one day, when one of the men said that he was going to go to Dr. Lookner for a new set of dentures in the morning.

His elderly friend remarked that he, too, had gone to the same dentist a few years before. “Is that so?” the first old gentleman asked. “Did he do a good job?”

The second gent replied, “Well, I was on the course yesterday when the fellow on the ninth hole hooked a shot. The ball must have been going at least 200 mph when it hit me right in the testicles.”

The first old guy was confused and asked, “What does that have to do with your dentures?” The second man answered, “That was the first time in two years that my teeth didn’t hurt.”

And one late night joke. “Today is the 50th anniversary of the first Rolling Stones album. The band is still going strong. Thanks, drugs.” – Craig Ferguson

So on to the NBA playoffs. We’ll catch you being MVP of the regular season as you go seek your first NBA championship. Aloha, mahalo and later, Kevin Durant fans.


  1. Best wishes to a speedy recovery for your brother and you.

    Comment by Babs — April 21, 2014 @ 8:07 am

  2. well, since you don’t get Laker season tickets anymore, I’m glad you at least get something from my family to make this problem just a bit better.
    Love, Your very sympathetic wife who will be going through this with you & will try not to experience compassion fatigue over the next 2 years of treatment.

    Comment by Allison — April 21, 2014 @ 11:57 am

  3. I remember all too well that sadist, Lou Fink, who made any future visit to the dentist like a walk in the park. And I’d forgotten that Dr. Gross bailed on us, leaving us with that other flake, who also took off my braces too soon and didn’t give me a retainer, so my two front teeth decided to move back to their original position, although they do say people with a gap in their teeth are better lovers. Or did I make that up? Hang in there and always ask for a tank of nitrous to go.

    Comment by The Tooth Fairy — April 21, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

  4. I hadn’t really grasped the extent of your teeth/mouth/gum saga, until I read it in story form.
    The oral surgery that just won’t quit! I feel for you. Yes, always ask for the nitrous. That is the only saving grace.
    Thinking of you!

    Comment by Wendi — April 21, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

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